Sunday, August 30, 2015

14th Star Tribute Double IPA


4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1440) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 30, 2015
Everyone’s making West Coast and New England-style IPAs these days, so it’s surprisingly (and pleasantly so) to see a Vermont-based brewing making not only a fairly traditional East Coast-style IPA, but an excellent one at that. 14th Star Tribute is the Double IPA for old school IPA enthusiasts, as well as acolytes who should appreciate the style since they’ve done it so well.

I poured a 16oz can into a tulip glass. It was canned on 8/4/15 and cost $3.25 ($0.20 per ounce). Thanks to Jon H. for this can!

Appearance: Typical IPA orange color; slightly cloudy but with still plenty of transparency. Pours to a three-finger, white, foamy head which retains and laces fairly well.

Smell: Citrusy juice concentrate along with notes of dill or cilantro and a general herbal scent. Some pine too, though it is not strongly aromatic.

Taste: I went into this beer expecting another Heady Topper wannabe (which would’ve been fine by me since those kind of beers tend to taste great), but when I got was a callback to the overlooked East Coast style IPA, and a double version at that. Instead of being a spice and herb bomb, this is actually quite well balanced with hop flavor that’s mostly pine and resin up front and sweet citrus in the back. There’s an earthy character throughout the palette – pine needles and straight up sap are detectable. Lurking in the background I notice faint spice rack flavors (dill, garlic, parsley, etc.). Most NEIPAs feature these front-and-center with pine and citrus in the background, but here it’s the opposite. I really enjoy the orange juice concentrate on the finish along with a dry, mildly herbal zestiness. The malt is strong enough to provide balance, though the beer is not particularly sweet. At only 65 IBUs, there’s plenty of bite to this brew, but it’s not overwhelming.

Drinkability: The very thing I noticed upon my first swig was how soft and comfortable the mouthfeel was. Up front, it’s smooth with a full body; yet it finishes with a light carbonation crisp bite. Most NEIPAs tend to drink like milkshakes, but 14th Star Tribute Double IPA drinks like an actual double IPA. The 8.4% ABV is well masked as there’s no alcohol presence in the aroma, taste or mouthfeel. There’s a lingering bitterness from the hops, but it’s easily overlooked. I could see this beer pairing perfectly with a lot of savory foods, but enjoying it on its own is a pleasure too.

RATING: 9/10